Oney Joseph Baker Pleads Guilty in U.S. Federal Court
The United States Attorney's Office announced that during a federal court session in Great Falls, on May 16, 2013, before U.S. Magistrate Judge, ONEY JOSEPH BAKER, a 39-year-old resident of Great Falls, pled guilty to being a felon-in-possession of firearms and an armed career criminal. Sentencing has been set for August 16, 2013. He is currently detained.
In an Offer of Proof filed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica A. Betley, the government stated it would have proved at trial the following:
On August 17, 1999, BAKER was sentenced in U.S. District Court to 51 months imprisonment after a jury found him guilty of conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance, possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, and distribution of a controlled substance. The sentence of imprisonment was to be followed by three years of supervised release, wherein the court ordered BAKER to not own or possess a firearm.
On October 30, 2002, the Montana Eight Judicial District Court in Cascade County sentenced BAKER for the crime of felony criminal possession of dangerous drugs. Specifically, the court sentenced BAKER to three years to the Department of Corrections, and ordered Baker to not own, possess, or be in control of any firearms or deadly weapons.
On April 27, 2007, the Montana Eighth Judicial District Court in Cascade County sentenced BAKER for three felony convictions: assault with a weapon, theft, and robbery. The three convictions were from different cases, however, they were resolved in one global plea agreement and sentencing. The court sentenced BAKER to ten years imprisonment at the Montana State Prison. It also specifically ordered that he "shall not own, possess, or be in control of any firearms or deadly weapons."
On July 8, 2012, around 3:09 pm, Great Falls police officers were dispatched to Bobo's Casino for a report of an armed robbery. Officers arrived at Bobo's and spoke with an employee of the casino. The employee said she had been throwing trash away when a man entered the casino through the east side door. She turned toward the man and he pointed a small black handgun at her head. The man, described as a Native American male, approximately 5'9" and 160 pounds, yelled, "give me the money, bitch!" The employee emptied the money in her apron, which contained approximately $300 to $400 dollars in cash. The man became upset and said, "that's, not all there is, bitch!" The employee opened the cash register. The register contained only loose change and the man tossed the register in anger once he saw it did not contain any cash. He ran out of the same east side door, got into a green minivan, and drove off at a high rate of speed.
The manager of Bobo's Casino arrived shortly thereafter and pulled up the surveillance video of the time of the robbery. Officers observed that the robbery took place exactly as the employee had described. Detectives then began to investigate the robbery, and numerous tips were called in to the police department.
The next day a concerned citizen called the police and stated there was a suspicious green minivan parked on the street that he had not seen the previous evening. Officers responded to the report of the suspicious car. They believed the parked minivan matched the description of the minivan used in the robbery. After again viewing the surveillance video, the officers found the minivan in the video was clearly the minivan parked on the street.
Numerous other tips continued to be reported. The tips and further investigation indicated that BAKER had robbed the casino.
On July 18, 2012, law enforcement observed BAKER leave a house carrying a dark colored piece of rolling luggage and a blue duffel bag. BAKER was with two other individuals. Law enforcement began to follow the car once BAKER drove away. At one point, BAKER tried to conceal the car by driving into an alley. A Deputy U.S. Marshal turned on his top lights and siren to initiate a traffic stop and the car immediately fled at a high rate of speed through neighborhood streets.
The car stopped at an apartment complex and all three people fled on foot. Police caught the other individuals, but BAKER had fled through the neighborhoods. Law enforcement yelled at BAKER to stop running and he refused to stop. BAKER dropped the duffel bag near a garage as he ran. A neighbor recovered the duffel bag and provided it to police. Three detectives finally apprehended BAKER who had to be held down by all three men.
Detectives searched the duffel bag they recovered from BAKER, as well as the vehicle. The detectives recovered a Lorcin, model L380, .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol from the front passenger seat floorboard. This pistol had been in BAKER's possession, and it contained seven rounds of .380 caliber ammunition, including one round that was in the chamber. A search of the duffel bag revealed a fully loaded Mossberg, model 500A, 12 gauge pump action shotgun. Law enforcement seized five rounds of 12 gauge ammunition from the shotgun. Detectives also found 25 rounds of 20 gauge ammunition and 18 rounds of .380 caliber ammunition in the duffel bag.
BAKER faces possible penalties of a mandatory minimum of 15 years to life in prison, a $250,000 fine, and 5 years supervised release.
The investigation was a cooperative effort between the Great Falls Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.